"Renewable UK" are having their annual gathering in Glasgow this week. The quite venerable organisation now includes tidal energy and wave power organisations, since it began as a simply academic wind power lobby. The Meteorological Office, exhibiting there, have produced a special office suite 'a la Microsoft' for wind energy producers - including:
While people such as the Met Office will be talking about wind turbine siting issues, the companies installing renewable technology will be celebrating an improvement in approval rate. 70,000 UK jobs could be in place by 2020 while Scotland of course stands proud with its projected 100% renewable energy supply ready for the same year.
Overall only 10% of British homes will be supplied with all renewable energy by 2018. We will have slightly less available nuclear energy at that time. With our poor sunlight catchment and few mountains, it all seems reasonable, but the wind power producers could certainly take a leaf out of Scotland's go-ahead approach. One of the keys to this is the new energy minister, John Hayes, who is on record as being against wind farms in principle. On his appointment however, he says, not very reassuringly, "It's about having the support of local people - that is the key thing." He is taking measures to make it easier for local communities to benefit by having a financial stake in revenue. We even have climate change sceptics, actually on the climate policy committees. And we thought dinosaurs were extinct!
Investment is the thing these days, so the policies of the coalition government will continue, otherwise Siemens, General Electric and Mitsubishi will make no decisions on investment in manufacturing plant.
The key here is George Osborne, the Chancellor, who insists he will produce gas-powered plant. Has nobody educated him at school about fossils? He is naturally drawn to the short term jobs (and publicity), available when building 20 new gas-fired power stations. With the news of Hitachi's new nuclear stations today, the renewable lobbies must be hankering after big changes in the government. At least at the Exchequer and the climate change committee.